Tuesday, the House voted to repeal two outdated military authorizations that are both decades old. The first was the 1991 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which served as the basis for the Gulf War and the second AUMF was from 1957 and has never directly been invoked. Both of the bills to repeal the outdated AUMFs were bipartisan and followed the House’s vote earlier this month to repeal the 2002 AUMF almost twenty years after the military authorization was passed by Congress.

In a new policy short, R Street governance fellow Anthony Marcum, whose scholarship focuses on the separation of powers and federal judiciary, argues that Congress must reclaim its constitutional war powers, and key to that is repealing the outdated AUMFs to restrict potential future abuse.

“As for reclaiming war powers, Congress has the chance to walk before it runs. The most pragmatic first step for Congress is to repeal the multiple, outdated Authorized Use of Military Force. Like the 1991 and 1957 authorizations, the 2002 AUMF is irrelevant to any current national security challenge and their repeal has gained bipartisan interest. Repealing these authorizations sets the groundwork for Congress to reassert its proper institutional war powers role,” he said.

Over time, the president’s war powers have expanded, shrinking congressional participation and oversight, and testing the constitutional divide between the legislative and executive branches. In recent years, the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs have allowed presidents from both parties to conduct military operations in numerous countries with little congressional scrutiny and decreased consultation.

Read the policy short, “Reclaiming Congressional War Powers.”

Read more about the 2002 AUMF in R Street’s FAQ.